Men's lingerie is on the second floor

Consume wheat products, like poppyseed muffins, raisin bagels, and whole grain bread, and you trigger the 90- to 120-minute glucose-insulin cycle.

Blood glucose goes way up (more than almost any other known food), triggering insulin release from the pancreas. Glucose enters cells as a result, blood glucose plummets. You get hungry, shaky, and crabby, reach for another wheat or other sugar-generating food to start the roller coaster ride all over again.

Repetitive insulin triggering grows this thing I call a "wheat belly," the protuberant, hang-over-the-belt fat you see everywhere nowadays. Wheat belly fat is really visceral fat. Visceral fat means you have fat kidneys, fat intestines, fat pancreas, and fat liver, all causing the belly to protrude in the familiar way we've all come to recognize.

Visceral fat is special fat. Unlike the fat in the backside, thighs, or arms, visceral fat triggers inflammatory responses that are evident in such measures as tumor necrosis factor, interleukins, and leptin, as well as drops in the protective hormone, adiponectin.

Visceral fat also, oddly, triggers estrogen release. Estrogen triggers growth of breast tissue. That's why females with wheat bellies have up to four-fold (400%) greater likelihood of breast cancer.

Men also experience excess estrogen from the visceral fat wheat belly, causing "man boobs." This B-cup phenomenon means that inflammation is raging beneath the surface, all due to this thing you're wearing around your waist.

I wasn't aware until recently that male breast reduction surgery is a booming business growing at double-digit rates. So are special clothes to help men conceal their expansive breasts.

Perhaps the USDA is in cahoots with Playtex.

Comments (33) -

  • nonegiven

    8/7/2010 6:13:41 PM |

    And yet if you read a typical article on "gynecomastia" you'll rarely see anything suggesting a problem with feeding plant estrogens (like processed soy foods) and insulin-spiking foods (like wheat and grain products) to growing male babies, children, and adolescents.  Usually the focus on on the remedy.

    "Moobs" seem to  a growing phenomenon that rapidly increased with the rise in soy and processed grain consumption during the past 3 decades, though it may also be due to everyone's increased awareness of appearances or the Seinfeld episode with Kramer's invention of a "mansierre" and similar media references.  I was never really aware specifically of the existence of "man-boobs" until the late 1980s and even then, I noticed it mostly on overweight middle-aged and older men  and thought the condition on slim men to be extremely rare (turns out it isn't).  I never heard any slang terms  until just a few years ago and now I regularly hear quite a few names for it.  It seems like the condition is everywhere at every age and weight level now - I don't think I was less observant 25 or 30 years ago.   Even grade school kids are aware of the condition and slang names, though if they eat the school lunches, they'll likely end up with their own set.

  • Franklin Mason

    8/7/2010 6:23:23 PM |

    Nicely said.

    The world we live in is a strange one. Man boobs - moobs - are now so common that they seem to elicit little or no attention. I was at a pool recently with the wife and kids, and moobs were present in abundance. Perhaps we've come to think of them as inevitable, as we seem to think that tooth decay, myopia, diabetes, heart disease, dementia all the other diseases of civilization are inevitable concomitants of being human.

    As John Durant recently said over at Hunter-Gatherer, we need a new concept of normal. Disease isn't normal. Health is normal. And we must come to recognize that only when we aren't lean, fit and ready for whatever the world thows us  - when, for instance, moobs begin to sprout on our boys- something has gone very wrong.

  • Anonymous

    8/7/2010 9:13:30 PM |

    So funny but true.  I like to run quite regularly and have some friends into running also.  They love to 'carb up' before a race!!  Yet, they can't figure out how to loose that bit of belly hanging over their belt w/o extreme excercise or calorie restriction.  I've been doing VLC (very low carb) for about 2 years now.  I've got no 'wheat belly' to be found Smile.  Maybe I'll let'em in on my little secret!  Age of these guys are a couple in 40's and one is 60.  So funny, I see them eat their bannana and grape nuts/shredded wheat every morning.  It seems an impossible task to lift the veil that 'FAT is bad for you' montra that's been lied to us the last 30 years.  Keep doing what your doing Dr. Davis.

  • Tommy

    8/7/2010 10:38:04 PM |

    I eat bananas every day. I eat a lot of fruit. I have 1/2 cup of rolled oats (which I soak overnight with an acid medium) every morning, with ground flax and cottage cheese...been doing it for years. I also have quinoa daily and most weeks brown rice also at dinner which I also soak. Lots of veggies. No bread, no wheat no sugar or anything containing sugar. No processed foods. I don't have a belly and as a matter of fact I have a hard time keeping any weight on. I'm 53 years old 5'10" and currently 169.5 lbs. I don't eat till I'm full and I eat pretty big portions...any more would be ridiculous.  I prefer being around 173 or at least 170 but weight just falls off of me. I'd say I eat moderate carbs.  Every one is different.  I think I eat sensibly and pretty traditional. Eggs, chicken, meat in small portions (3-5 oz) soaked grains in moderation, lots of veggies and fruit, water and raw milk, walnuts and almonds, ground flax, extra vitamin D and fish oil capsules. I exercise a lot and have for the last 30 years or more.

  • Kevin

    8/7/2010 11:24:58 PM |

    I think the problem is a bit more complicated than just too much wheat.  With age men's testosterone levels decline while estrogen levels go up.  Men in their 50's can have hormone patterns similar to a woman.  And if a man develops BPH, the medications that allow him to get a full night's sleep suppress his testosterone levels while leaving estrogen unchecked.  Being 54 with BPH I worry about gynecomastia.  I used beta-sitosterol as an alternative to alpha reductase inhibitors but recently found articles that say sterols like beta-sitosterol cause the same side effects as Proscar.  My weight now is less than when I was in high school in 1973.   I follow the Sears antiinflammation diet.  


  • Anonymous

    8/7/2010 11:45:26 PM |

    Is it wheat or the carbs in the wheat that's the villain?  

    If it's the wheat, should both soluble and insoluble fiber be avoided?

    Also, the poppyseed reference seems kinda random... is there something particular about poppy seeds?

  • Anonymous

    8/7/2010 11:46:36 PM |

    Thanks for the laugh with the post title!

    At 260 lbs on my 5'7" frame as of May 13, I had "wheat belly," and lots of it, along with dangerously high LDL, low HDL and high triglycerides, and, ironically, borderline hyperthyroidism at .34 TSH.  That was also around the time I discovered this blog.

    Since June 11, I've  been grain-free except for flaxseed; have not had any processed foods; cut down on added salt; have had nothing to drink except water and unsweetended almond milk; have had only lean meats to eat; greatly increased my intake of vegetables (mostly leafy green, i.e., kale, Swiss chard, spinach, red/grean leaf lettuce with some occasional asparagus and broccoli); have had  minimal dairy (maybe 4-8 ounces of cheese per week, at most); and some avocado, and a little fruit.

    As of July 21, I'd lost only 18lbs even though my hyperthyroidism is all but confirmed (TSH dropped to .19 as of 7/8 and lots of symptoms have hit).  Since then, I don't feel as if I have dropped an ounce, my clothes feel the same in terms of fit, and of course, I still have plenty of "wheat belly."

    Next weigh-in is on Friday, 8/13, when I see my endocrinologist for the 1st time.  How bad is my luck that I can't lose weight quickly on a very low carb diet AND with hyperthyroidism?!

  • Dr. William Davis

    8/7/2010 11:48:13 PM |

    My wife tells me that Playtex is no longer in the bra business.

    Oh well. It was the only bra manufacturer that I popped off the tip of my tongue.


    Yes, well said. I, too, worry more about our children and the strange dietary legacy we leave.

    I constantly have to remind patients, family, and friends that what we hear on TV, radio, read in magazines, etc. is largely driven by industry, easily drowning out the message that we are trying to disseminate.

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2010 3:30:38 AM |

    I have heard of "beer belly" and clearly its occurrence is ubiquitous, but "wheat belly" is something new. Are they the same thing or are we talking about a different condition?

  • puddle

    8/8/2010 5:49:33 AM |

    Moobs are *not* a new phenomenon, lol!  Take a look at very old Buddha figurines. . . .
    But, *more* for sure.  

    But anyone interested needs to look at pollution (air, water, food) and see how much of it is pseudoestrogens.  We are feminizing a whole generation of baby boys.

  • Trey

    8/8/2010 8:51:08 AM |

    I appreciate the low carb/preventing insulin release science, but how the heck do people maintain muscle mass on a low carb diet?  Short sets can only be fueled by muscle glycogen, so how does one support their weight training on such a low carb diet?

  • Larry

    8/8/2010 11:28:46 AM |

    Dr Davis,
    Have you looked into the Primal Blueprint at www.Marksdailyapple,com ?

    That lifestyle is pretty much what you're trying to tell us about.

  • Jason

    8/8/2010 11:43:21 AM |

    Hi dr davis

    Im drinking protein supplements and i dont know that glutamine peptides is from wheat protein.

    What can you say about artifial sweetener acesulfame potassium in the ingredients of most whey supplements??

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2010 2:06:45 PM |


    go to for answers about conserving muscle mass


  • Dr. William Davis

    8/8/2010 5:19:44 PM |

    Hi, Puddle--

    Excellent point.

    I do believe, however, that high-carbohydrate eating and obesity are typically accompanied by the man boob phenomenon. I rarely see them in slender men who might "just" have exposure to pseudoestrogens.

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2010 8:55:08 PM |

    Dr. Davis, this must be the funniest post you have ever written. My husband thankfully didn't have moobs, but he had wheat belly and "Cheerio" face. One day I gathered up all the "heart healthy" whole wheat bread, Cheerios, Kashi bars and crackers and put them in a big garbage bag for the trashman.

    He was not especially pleased, but with the exception of ferreting out a couple of stale Girl Scout cookies late one night (I call this "carbdar") he was good about it. Then one morning about 6 weeks later, he came flying out of the bedroom with his shirt up pointing to his belly, which was significantly reduced. He is quite pleased with himself now.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. We had diner last evening with a good friend who is a head of cardiology at a large suburban hospital. In short, he hasn't a clue when it comes to nutrition. Do you see any progress with cardiologists in this area? Or are they all just Statinators?

  • stop smoking help

    8/8/2010 10:16:15 PM |

    Okay, okay, I give. I don't want any man boobs! I'll try going wheat free for two weeks and see if I notice a difference in all this stuff that I read about on this blog.

    So no wheat products and watch my carbs, right? Fruits/veggie carbs good, wheat/sugar carbs bad.

    I'm also going to start cooking with coconut oil. George Dejohn in Dallas has talked it up on his radio program, so I'm going to finally give that a try as well.

    Wish me luck. I think I'll be going through withdrawal cravings, big time.

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2010 10:19:28 PM |

    Dr Davis

    with regard to the comment on Budhas moobs it is very funny. My take is him being located in a wheat eating country - India could have contributed to his moobs (nice catch puddle) and perhaps the neurotoxins in the wheat gave him the nirvana experience *snicker snicker*

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2010 10:23:03 PM |

    to add to the above

    its the Laughing buddha with moobs and wheat belly not the Nirvana Buddha!

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2010 11:40:41 PM |


    I tried to help out many people but it seems hopeless at this point. Most don't believe me. I even tried to provide studies, etc but they refuse to do so. I hope that we eventually break through but as long as drug companies, etc continue to control things, it's going to be tough no matter what. It appears to be all about profits and federal gov't is for that. What a shame...

  • Anonymous

    8/9/2010 7:56:14 AM |

    stopsmoking: You are not serious, are you? You intend to eat no wheat for two weeks and I suppose you expect results at the end of two weeks? That means you are looking for a QuickFix - but your body is not a machine with a reset button. You will have to invest a little more time and patience.

  • Peter

    8/9/2010 12:26:08 PM |

    I wonder what makes sense for poor countries.  I see that Sonia Ghandi wants to wipe out malnutrition by giving every poor family a 77 pund bag of grain, sugar, and kerosene each month.

  • stop smoking help

    8/9/2010 6:03:58 PM |

    Anonymous - Fortunately, I'm pretty healthy and don't have anything to get a quick fix for, except a little belly fat. I just want to see if I can stop eating this for two weeks, then I'll see how I feel. When I stopped drinking sodas, I did feel better after two weeks. Nothing I could put into words, just better. That's what I meant by see how I feel.

    What will probably happen is I will have proved to myself that I can go at least 2 weeks without, so I'll start another 2 week goal. That's what I did with sodas and it worked out pretty well - 4 years without a coke!

  • billye

    8/9/2010 7:13:30 PM |

    Hi Anon,

    260 lbs and 5' 7" sounds typical.  Don't be so hard on your self.  The version of a low carb program you describe sounds lacking.  I have lost 55 pounds over about 18 months and holding.  I get it that you are frustrated.  You do not lose weight on a straight line on a low carb program.  You are not taking homeostasis in to account.  That is the body fighting you to keep your system in balance, therefor, you will hit plateaus, and because we are all different,  the duration between a weight drop could take weeks or even months.  But, rest assured the weight loss will start again.  It didn't take a few weeks to put on most of your weight and your body will fight to keep it on, because, it thinks famine is upon you.  If you think that just giving up wheat is going to solve all of your health problems, get over it.  Our idea of a health supporting evolutionary lifestyle that works is high saturated fat and unlimited flesh with a few very low starch veggies and a few not very sweet berries (1 cup daily mostly blue berries).  Don't worry about quantity, let your hunger drive limit you.  Eating as an evolutionary lifestyle dictates will automatically stop hunger and give you satiety.  After 18 months on our program my diabetes type 2is cured along with obesity.  I can't tell you every thing in this short comment, but, talk it over with your doctor and see what he thinks before you proceed.

    Billy E

  • Jaime

    8/9/2010 8:22:07 PM |

    I am so the poster child of this syndrome.  Therefore, I've started my own blog on how to combat it.  I stubbled on you while trying to research other blogs that are somewhat like mine.  I love this.  You are brilliant.  Please visit mine, while rudimentary, I do believe we share the same concepts of health.

  • Dr. William Davis

    8/9/2010 8:25:02 PM |

    Hi, Anonymous--

    Sadly, my colleagues are still trapped somewhere in "low-fat, take your Lipitor" land.

    Anyone who has tested small LDL as many times as I have eventually comes to realize that the carbohydrates are the culprit, not the fat.

  • Davide

    8/10/2010 1:34:21 AM |

    Although not directly related to this post, have you ever read this published study?

    The reason why I ask, is because I have never heard you mention the relevant association between genotype and LDL size.

  • LeonRover

    8/10/2010 10:17:43 AM |

    Hello Doctor Davis

    It seems to me you are describing a "hypos", just like those my newly diagnosed T1 step-son suffered from, until he learned to over-eat for his insulin dose. This in otherwise normal people would seem to be a failure of the glucagon response, whose function is to release glucose to the blood via glycogenolysis.

    Recent food tests seem to show that many proteins induce as much insulin to the bloodstream as some carbohydrates do, which naturally enough reduces BG - as well as storing protein - and the glucagon response then steps in if BG goes too low.

    You know this middle aged visceral fat used also to be called "beer belly", and according to some might even be re-labeled "fructose belly".
    My point is, wheat may be cause in some, but there are other foods which manage to produce the same effects.

  • chet Holmes

    8/10/2010 12:06:27 PM |

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  • CarbSane

    8/10/2010 1:30:32 PM |

    Umm ... Playtex still makes bras!

    Also, the "bloop" over the belt is not visceral fat, it is subcutaneous fat.  It's the hard bellies that look like a pregnant woman that are mostly visceral fat under the abs around the organs that is pushing outward.  Two good tests to distinguish the two are whether you can squeeze a roll (sub-Q) or how much disappears when you try to hold in your tummy really hard (sub-Q fat cannot be held in).  

    I'm curious about the estrogen link.  In women, menopausal reductions in estrogen production are associated with increased VAT -- not weight gain per se but a shift of SCAT to VAT.  If VAT produces estrogen, is this nature's version of HRT? -- stimulating our secondary estrogen producing "organ" when the first one shuts down?  That seems odd given the negative metabolic consequences of VAT accumulation.

  • Aaron Houssian

    8/11/2010 2:12:40 PM |

    So Dr. Davis do you mean wheat or all grains?  I eat very little wheat (no breads or cereals here as we have kids that are gluten/casein free) but I do enjoy the rye bread that is popular here in Europe with my lunches.

  • Contemplationist

    9/10/2010 6:21:34 PM |

    LOL The USDA Playtex line was hilarious. But who knows anymore? Ours is a crazy world where the elites are completely wrong and unwilling to acknowledge it, while attacking others as idiots.

  • Mens Fitness

    9/13/2010 10:27:19 AM |

    William Davis has written a very information to and knowledge about heart disease in men